043: How To Overcome Roommate Syndrome

Podcast Guest: Nate Bagley
043: How To Overcome Roommate Syndrome

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In this Episode

Do you ever feel like your partner is more like a roommate than a spouse? This isn’t uncommon for couples to experience, and is actually a feature of marriage than a bug. Dr. Dave and Dr. Liz talk with Nate Bagley about “Roommate Syndrome” and discuss how being in this rut can act as a catalyst for growing up in our marriage. As something that everyone in a relationship encounters, this podcast is a must-listen-to resource to create a stronger marriage connection! [

0:00 – Introduction: Who is Nate Bagley?
1:42 – Fear of a mediocre marriage
3:59 – Interviewing the most successful and happy couples
6:15 – What is “roommate syndrome”?
10:20 – How to get the spark back in your marriage
12:30 – How to get out of the roommate rut
18:01 – Roommate syndrome is a feature, not a bug
19:57 – Happiness is a byproduct of growth
22:20 – The Eisenhower Matrix
27:10 – What do we need to do to have a great marriage?
30:10 – Maximize enjoyment for both people
32:48 – Nate Bagley resources
33:32 – Nate’s takeaway: you have more control over your marriage than you think
35:33 – Liz’s takeaway: remember maximum joint enjoyment
36:06 – Dave’s takeaway: the pillars of friendship – I like you, I know you, I trust you

About Nate Bagley

Nate Bagley is a marriage researcher and educator whose mission is to rid the world of mediocre love. His passion is helping people DO the things that make their relationships extraordinary.

In 2012, Nate did a cross-country road trip where he interviewed the country’s most madly-in-love couples, and renowned relationship experts to discover the secrets of truly epic, lasting love.

Since then, he’s given a TEDx talk, and been published in Business Insider, Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, the Gottman Institute blog, and many other outlets. He always loves hearing from his readers and listeners, so please feel free to reach out to him at his website here.

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Insights and Invites


Nate: Happiness is a byproduct of growth and roommate syndrome is a byproduct, not a bug. Roommate syndrome gives you the opportunity to grow up.
Dave: Foster the 3 pillars of friendship: I like you, I know you, I trust you.
Liz: Remember to focus on maximum joint enjoyment.


  • If you feel like you and your partner have roommate syndrome, try doing something out of your comfort zone today (ask a personal question, address a topic that makes you anxious, etc.).
  • It’s the little things that get you out of roommate syndrome. Try making your partner a meal they wouldn’t expect (like breakfast or lunch), or sending them a sweet text while they’re away (even if not for very long).
  • Try to make your marriage enjoyable for everyone. Is there something you grew up doing that your partner doesn’t particularly enjoy? Talk about it with them. What could you do to make things more enjoyable for them?

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